Viewing entries tagged
social media

Are You Maximizing Twitter?

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Are You Maximizing Twitter?

It's a news source, a place to consume pop culture, a channel for audiences to engage in live events, a customer service platform and much more. With 330 million global users, Twitter is clearly the place to be - but are YOU maximizing Twitter?

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Making Valuable Connections: Corporate Events

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Making Valuable Connections: Corporate Events

People tend to zero in on media relations and social media when they think about public relations, but there are so many other ways to engage and connect with audiences. Corporate events, in particular, can turn a good campaign into a great one by creating authentic, direct touch points for audiences to interact with your brand.

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Blake’s Take: Keep the C-Suite Strategic

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Blake’s Take: Keep the C-Suite Strategic

An interesting article recently came out at CIO Dashboard, entitled “Who’s in Charge of Digital?” The world often presents dramatic business changes that cause questions about C-suite roles and responsibilities. But I'd caution leaders to pay close attention when changes are proposed to executive designations.

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On the Radar: Snapchat

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Snapchat. The mobile app has done some big things lately and is making strides toward becoming a relevant social platform and news source – so much so that The Wall Street Journal and the White House have jumped on the bandwagon. WSJ         

The Wall Street Journal is now publishing stories on Snapchat and it’s safe to say Snapchat has officially earned a seat at the social media VIP table. The pairing of an established and prestigious newspaper with an app primarily used by millennials is a win for both parties. For the Journal, it’s an avenue to reach and retain young readers. For Snapchat, whose users are mostly young people, the addition of the Journal may appeal to an older audience and attract new advertisers.

The White House

Yep, the White House joined Snapchat just in time for the President’s State of the Union address last month. This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has taken strides in the social media world – President Obama is the first sitting president to have his own Twitter account and Facebook page. Obama’s director of product management said the White House was joining Snapchat to reach the growing percentage of the population that uses the app to consume news and share with friends. I bet Snapchat was pretty pleased to hear the White House thinks the app is 1) big enough to reach the national audience and 2) a legit news outlet for something as prestigious as the SOTU.

Geofilter

Geofilter

Geofilters

Snapchat has offered geofilters – geographically restricted graphics that can be added to a user’s photo or video – for a while. However, it just introduced a new geofilter option that will allow anyone, even smaller companies, to submit temporary geofilters for a party or an event for a $5 fee. The company currently receives floods of “on-demand” geofilter submissions, but Snapchat hopes the fee will slow the pipeline to a more manageable number of submissions. As Snapchat continues to grow, this is a huge innovative step in terms of both revenue and user retention.

Whether you’re a fan of Snapchat or not, you can’t deny the company’s ingenuity and strategy. The app is constantly searching for ways to reach a broader target market AND create new channels of revenue.

Bravo, Snapchat, bravo.

(Featured photo: via Flickr; Geofilter photo: via Flickr)

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PR by the Micro-Moment

Earlier this month, PRSA Dallas hosted Martin Waxman, APR to speak at a well-attended social media workshop. He provided strategic insight that was easy to both understand and implement, but I was particularly interested in the concept of “PR by the micro-moment.” Google describes micro-moments as “a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.” Where are we turning to in these moments? Presumably, our iPhones.

During the discussion, Waxman referenced an interesting article by Scientific American on how the Internet is beginning to replace a friend or family member as a companion in sharing the daily tasks of remembering things. Because of our dependence on mobile devices, we are increasingly turning to Google or Siri to give us the answer we want NOW.

Watch this Think Google video on how Dunkin ' Donuts is engaging in the micro-moment.
Watch this Think Google video on how Dunkin ' Donuts is engaging in the micro-moment.

What does this mean for marketing and public relations? Everything has changed. Waxman posits brands are looking at audiences the wrong way. Throw demographics out the window and instead understand that the immediate need of a consumer supersedes any brand loyalty.

Remember Google’s mobilegeddon? Website rankings are now penalized if not optimized for mobile. They did that for the convenience of their consumers, who could be your consumers too. Lisa Gevelber, vice president of marketing at Google, writes “When someone has a want or need, they turn to their smartphone for help—whether it's a karate newbie watching an expert do a move on YouTube or a mom looking for the best deal on a pair of sneakers. When a need arises, people turn to search and YouTube to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions.”

Life imitating art yet? Here’s the takeaway:

The Home Depot shifted DIY focus to women with Do-it-Herself workshops and tutorials.
The Home Depot shifted DIY focus to women with Do-it-Herself workshops and tutorials.

First, you need to be there when the customers arrive in these micro-moments. This means creating a web presence that straddles search engines, social media networks and wherever else your audience may be lurking. Brand strategy also needs to incorporate more than just mere presence to win over a potential customer. The content available needs to be useful to the consumer. The information needs to be offered clearly and in an easily digestible way. Think DIY videos or short, practical case studies—whatever best meets their need. Finally, the strategy needs to incorporate a real-time component. How many times have you closed an Internet tab or exited an app because the load time took too long? Work to create a desire path making the user experience seamless and quick.

Micro-moments are completely changing the game and the opportunity is palpable.  Whether you’re working with a corner store or Coca-Cola, shifting your focus to enhancing the consumer journey through these micro-moments will surely elevate your marketing success.

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The 10 Commandments of Corporate Communications

10 Commandments Final

10 Commandments Final

By Shelby Tidwell The evolution of global news media has affected news outlets everywhere, including the Associated Press (AP) – the largest and most respected news organization in the world – which has altered its corporate communications department to contend with ever-changing media standards.

Ellen Hale, former senior vice president and director of corporate communications at AP, recently spoke to PRSA Dallas and Press Club of Dallas members about her time at AP and offered “The 10 Commandments of Corporate Communications.”

  1. Corporate communications should be the canary in the coal mine. You should be the first to indicate if a situation could be misinterpreted by the media.

  2. If it looks like the issue has wings, get in there fast and disrupt it before it gains traction with the media or public.

  3. Don’t count on anyone calling for comment or clarification; assume they will run with their own interpretation of the story or image.

  4. Be proactively transparent.

  5. If you’re wrong, fall on your sword – fall on it fast and completely.

  6. Explain, explain, explain!

  7. Know when to stop explaining. Get in, get out and don’t extend the issue any longer than you have to.

  8. If you don’t have shareable content, you’re sunk.

  9. Social media can be a curse, but it has proven to be a friendly beast – take advantage of it!

  10. Cultivate relationships with those in the media who can help.

If there’s a trend in Ellen’s list, it’s that honesty and transparency are not optional. The bigger and more powerful your organization is, the more likely you are to be under scrutiny. Don’t give your critics the chance to misinterpret your message – but if they do, be the one to correct it.

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On Our Radar: Content is Crap

A recent Harvard Business Review article has been making the rounds in the marketing and communications circles, “Content Is Crap, and Other Rules for Marketers” by Greg Satell.   We’ve all heard that content is king, so declaring that content is crap is a pretty strong statement to make. The point isn’t that content doesn’t matter. The point is you should want more than some flash-in-the-pan content—you should want a relationship with the consumer. The article explains, “Today, marketers need to build an ongoing relationship with consumers and that means holding attention, not just grabbing it.  To get people to subscribe to a blog, YouTube channel, or social media feed, you need to offer more than a catchy slogan or a clever stunt. You need to offer real value, and offer it consistently.”

We like this idea. We see this as relationship building, and relationships are what drives engagement and results for businesses and organizations.

Thinking about this relationship-building and engagement-driven content, I wanted to highlight some organizations on our radar. These are just a few examples that have caught—and kept—our attention by keying in on the human experience.

General Electric– GE has been pumping out quality content since before Ronald Reagan was in politics. They are constantly innovating, and I, personally, am consistently impressed with its marketing efforts beyond the customary Facebook and Twitter channels. I have to admit I follow GE on Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat and even LinkedIn and Tumblr. It’s all different content, and it’s all done exceptionally well.

GE has come a long way since the days of General Electric Theater. If your team needs some inspiration in the digital space, check out how GE is and engaging the younger generations through #EmojiScience.

  • Bonus: GE Health is also creatively promoting their new Automated Breast Ultrasound technology by explaining breast density with emoji. (Don’t worry, it’s pretty G-rated.)
GE - Breast Density Explained with Emoji
GE - Breast Density Explained with Emoji
Southwest Periscope Teaser with Rangers
Southwest Periscope Teaser with Rangers

Southwest Airlines – You’d be hard-pressed to find a value airline that has more LUV for its customers than Southwest. Enter its new trademark: Transfarency, Southwest Airlines’ philosophy that means “low fares actually stay low — no unexpected bag fees, change fees or hidden fees.”

So our bags fly for free, and the in-flight hot chocolate always hits the spot. We’re on board, but what’s really caught our eye with Southwest lately is its Periscope channel. While most big brands have jumped on the Periscope band wagon, Southwest has definitely set itself apart from the noise. Building anticipation through Twitter, Southwest shows us different sneak peeks inside the company that aren’t stuffy or scripted, and the company engages with its viewers by listening and responding to comments. Viewers get an inside look at operations, company events and employee life, and back in August, Southwest put the Texas Rangers to work for a day! Southwest is definitely one to watch.

REI – This company is truly all about relationships. REI is a co-op and values its members heavily. They offer special events, discounted rates for its Outdoor School and a great return policy for members—not to mention the year-end rebate. REI promotes clean, crisp and wanderlust-evoking images and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that make you want to quit your day job…

REI_OptOutside
REI_OptOutside

If you haven’t heard yet, REI plans to #OptOutside on Black Friday and is closing all 143 of its stores for the day. This bold move, which includes delaying any online sales that day and paying its employees to enjoy the day outside, aligns with the company’s core values. While social is still reeling from this news, we’ve also noticed a coordinated effort for holiday shopping encouraging “no inside gifts.” People seem to like the idea to #OptOutside on Black Friday, and admittedly, it’s probably going to create much more consumer-created content for them. Overall, well-played.

With everything floating out on the internet, we’re impressed by what these brands are doing to grab our attention and keep us engaged. We’re on the lookout for what’s next, what works and what doesn’t, and we’re interested to hear what you think, too. What’s on your radar? Comment below and fill us in!

(Photo Credits: General Electric, Southwest Airlines and REI)

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Public Relations Tips for Ethics Month (and Every Month)

PRSA web appDid you know September is Ethics Awareness Month at Public Relations Society of America? To highlight the importance of adhering to an ethical code in our work throughout the year, PRSA has made “Ethics Every Day” the theme for the month this year. We all know ethics should be a part of our everyday routine, but it may not always be something that we work toward purposefully. Ethical lines and gray areas can grow especially hazy when interacting with audiences on social media channels. As the social media landscape rapidly evolves, it’s vital to have strategic guidelines for real-time response, content management and an approval process at your company or agency.

In PRSA’s Ethical Standards Advisory ESA-20, issued this month, the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards tackled the heady task of incorporating ethics in social media marketing. We encourage you to take the time to read over this advisory and apply it in your work. Here are some key takeaways as they relate to social media:

- Disclosure: Be transparent with full disclosures of background, affiliations and sponsorships to viewers, users and other stakeholders.

PRSA box fold out

- Safeguarding confidences: Protect confidential information and adhere to rules and guidelines of proper disclosure of information. Know when and when not to post. If you’re unsure, seek guidance and approval from legal counsel or appropriate authority.

- Free flow of information: Develop guidelines for sponsored content.

Be sure to visit PRSA’s Ethics Month site, where you can find thoughtful resources ethics. It has links to this month’s PRSAY ethics blogs, a schedule of #PREthics Twitter chats, a free webinar later this month, a link to the PRSA Ethics Quiz and even a free PRSA Ethics app available in the Android Market and the App Store. Plus, don’t miss the Ethical Essential Ingredients printable cut and fold box you can keep on your desk as a reminder or a just a great conversation starter!

Photo Credit: Social Media Outsourcer - Anderson Brian; PRSA Ethics app and Ethical Essentials Ingredients

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Communications from the Top: Effective CEO messaging

Just as there are plenty of different leadership styles, there are just as many communication styles. But there are a few characteristics that you tend to see in top CEO communicators. These are the CEOs who we follow on Twitter, read their op-eds during our lunch break and maybe even pick up their books on the weekend. We trust these leaders. We’re enthused by their work and the direction of their company. To become a leader who can communicate in this way, it’s important to stand out from the crowd with these unique attributes.

Authenticity

Be real. The most inspirational leaders engage on a human-interest level. It’s important for your audience to trust you. Don’t lose them with scripted grandiosity. Use personal stories and be relatable.

Transparency

@Cue Twitter Feed to Taylor Swift love Apple
@Cue Twitter Feed to Taylor Swift love Apple

Strive for an openness that draws the audience in. Knowing they’re not about to get the wool pulled over their eyes will keep an audience listening and engaged. Admit shortcomings and excite them with sneak peeks of the company’s next big idea.

How can CEOs do this while maintaining the respect and competitive advantage of their office and company? By maintaining a growth mindset. Leaders who admit setbacks and ask for input tend to be the best communicators and biggest innovators out there. See Apple’s swift response to artist royalties on streaming music.

Accessibility

Be available. Leaders shielded from the media can project distrustful personas to the public. Executives who engage with employees, customers and external stakeholders build a reputation that garners respect and appreciation, while also reaching a larger audience. This visibility can lend to authenticity, making for more dynamic communications and leadership.

Confidence

Be thoughtful. CEOs stand apart by truly adding value to the conversation through their innovation and reputation for success. These leaders don’t give a keynote with their eyes down at the podium. These CEOs are the ones booking media briefings for open Q&A because they’ve thought through all the questions beforehand. When confronted with an unknown, the CEO is honest and curious about it. It takes a confident leader to ask for critical feedback, like Elon Musk did with his Hyperloop white paper. Establishing these connections builds a following that bolsters credibility.

TED Commandments by Chirag Chamoli
TED Commandments by Chirag Chamoli

If your CEO is giving a speech soon, you might consider incorporating some of the tenets of the TED Commandments throughout the speech writing and preparation process. You can see many of these core traits shine through their communications principles.

And, if you missed the blog on the best tools CEOs can use, be sure to check it out - Communications from the Top: How CEOs communicate.

Photo Credits: Dow Jones Events via Flickr, @Cue Twitter Feed, Chirag Chamoli via Flickr

Communications from the Top: How CEOs communicate

Our society is continuously inundated with information through an ever-growing field of tools and mediums. As a corporate or government leader, it can be hard to know which channels are most effective and how to get your message across. Customers, media and other key audiences are demanding direct access to corporate and government leaders, and communication from the top has become increasingly scrutinized. We’ve got examples of the best tools for executives to make sure you—and your brand—are understood.

Social Media

PRGN-Logo-13-RGB-2-300x150
PRGN-Logo-13-RGB-2-300x150

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great options for leaders and executives to directly engage with new, broader audiences. A recent a Public Relations Global Network Survey discovered that journalists regularly peruse a CEO’s social media presence—LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook—before an interview.  Other studies have shown that CEO engagement on social media helps drive consumer spending and create brand loyalists. Executive presence on social media may be the last thing in the world a CEO has time for, but check out these examples before you write it off:

AskPOTUS
AskPOTUS

-President Obama generated more than 50,000 tweets last week with his #AskPOTUS Twitter chat. The initial response was so overwhelming that it took one hour before his first response. 

-Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore used a selfie stick to give viewers an inside look of SXSW with Meerkat broadcasts.

-NASA and the United States Air Force used Periscope to interview Astronaut Terry Virtz upon his return from the International Space Station.

-Former Governor Perry previewed his 2016 campaign bid on Snapchat.

-Elon Musk teased out new Tesla product lines on Twitter and stocks jumped.

-Intel CEO Brian Krzanich opted for a Reddit AMA, but came under criticism for avoiding top two questions regarding the NSA.

-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg brought tears to our eyes with a post about her late husband.

-DFW Airport has been hosting #AskDFWExec Twitter chats to connect AvGeeks everywhere with a sampling of their executive leadership. Watch for EVP Ken Buchanan on July 10.

Traditional Media

Opinion editorials in local, business and trade media publications are a great way to put the leader or company’s message on the record. Strategically placed editorials can impact public opinion before an election or vote. It can also be a great way to highlight and raise awareness on different issues. See some of my favorite examples below:

Levi CEO
Levi CEO

-McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook’s Chicago Tribune Op-ed, “Why we're raising wages

-Former first lady and founder of Taking Care of Texas Laura Bush’s column in The Dallas Morning News, “Conservation can start in your own garden

-Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Charles Bergh Forbes Op-ed, “Do the world a favor n’ wash your jeans every 10 wears

Thought Leadership

You can also consider speaking engagements or conferences where there will be industry leaders, rising experts and respected media. A speaking circuit of handpicked events can be an effective way to get your message heard and confer with influencers. Participating in these types of events also positions your executive or executive team as the trusted industry leader and expert.

Last month, the LPR team helped place ConocoPhillips’ Chief Technology Officer Ram Shenoy as a keynote at the University of Colorado-Denver’s Energy Moving Forward forum.

Clear and effective communication is crucial to the success of any leader. Much more goes into a CEO media orientation and preparation, but exploring these tools can help set your business leader apart from the crowds.

What are some techniques or stories you’ve seen or used when working with c-level clients?

Be sure to check back with us for Communications from the Top: Effective CEO Messaging.

(Photo Credits: Public Relations Global Network; @POTUS Twitter Feed; Fortune Stuart Isett, Fortune Brainstorm)

Periscope: Making the world smaller, one tweet at a time

In a world that is more connected than ever, it’s hard to imagine something could increase global connectivity, particularly on a social media level. Cue free live-streaming and connect it to Twitter.

For those who don’t know, Periscope is an app that lets a user film in real-time what’s happening around them on their phone. Other users can then log in either on Twitter or on Periscope to watch the live stream. Since Periscope is integrated with Twitter, a user’s Twitter followers instantly become a part of their Periscope audience.

DMN Periscope Tweet

There are no time or memory limitations, because the video is not saved to the phone. Users have 24 hours after filming to view the stream, which means Periscope combines the exclusivity of Snapchat, the relevancy of a news site and the brevity and immediacy of Twitter.

So, more than just being a cool, new trend,  what does Periscope mean for businesses?

Just as the name implies, Periscope allows a user to look up and out, seeing and experiencing things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Events

Periscope significantly increases audience engagement. Users can experience an event even when they cannot physically attend. Thanks to Periscope’s live-commenting feature, audiences also can engage real-time with the person filming and others who are watching.

Crowdsourcing

Similarly, a company can ask customers and communities what they think of an idea or product and expect real-time responses. Research doesn’t get much easier than that.

Announcements

A business could make an announcement via Periscope, using the anticipation factor to the company’s advantage while also giving viewers a sense of inclusivity.

Behind-the-Scenes

For a change of pace, a company can use the app for more casual streaming, like offering behind-the-scenes looks at the office and team members. Candid streams here and there can make a business more relatable to customers and clients.

Data

Another draw for companies and brands to use Periscope is the ability to track metrics on its streams. Periscope provides data, such as viewers, time watched and duration.

 

Live-streaming as a social media platform is gaining traction. Periscope can become a powerful tool for engagement once social media users – both businesses and individuals – find their Periscope niche and utilize its potential.

If you haven’t streamed a video on Periscope, try it out. You’ll find traveling the world on your lunch break is not so absurd after all.

 

Some of our favorite Periscope users:

The Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) -- Local events and news coverage.

Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon) -- Always a laugh.

Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) -- Where else can you watch him practice his back hand?

 

Photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr

5 Years & 100 Posts

It's hard to believe, but five years - and 100 posts - ago, the Lewis Public Relations team started on a journey to bring public relations thought leadership and news to our corner of the Internet. User-generated content has changed over the years, but it's just as relevant, if not more so, than it was in 2010. In our first posts, LPR focused on major agency and client news releases and media coverage. (Our very first post on June 14, 2010, linked to my comments to USA Today about the BP oil spill.) Since then, our approach to blogging and user-generated content has evolved.

To commemorate our 100th post, here are five blogging tips that we've picked up along the way:

  1. Blog with frequency.  Building a blog audience is a lot like cultivating a relationship. It takes time, and you have to commit to investing in conversation. Starting out, we posted once a month...sometimes once a quarter. Today, that simply isn't often enough. In the past few years, we've upped our game and share new content at least once a week. It keeps our audience engaged and encourages us to stay current and fresh.
  2. Give an inside look.  Many professionals are used to staying behind the scenes, but audience like to see behind the curtain. Regular blogging - with photos and videos - gives a peek into your culture and team. It's content the audience can't find from anyone but you.
  3. Brag a little.  Our most popular posts come from sharing our team's and clients' successes. We work hard to get great results, but too often we hesitate to make it known. Did you get mentioned by a great media outlet? Share it! Did one of your team members learn from a fantastic professional development session? Ask them to relay what they learned. Your audience is interested.
  4. Use your keywords.  Search engine optimization are three dirty words to many writers, but it makes sure your content gets the attention it deserves. It's important to know your keywords and weave them into your titles, tags and content with finesse. This can be tricky, and it puts even the most skilled wordsmith to the test, but the results are worth it.
  5. Track your progress.  Blogging brings highs and lows, but tracking your progress gives incredible insight into what your audience likes...and doesn't like. We track our blog readership weekly and use data to understand the type of content our readers want. We've found that posts with public relations insights, results and photos from inside our agency do very well. Your audience may like something different. Watch for patterns and blog accordingly.

Five years ago, we set up a blog to post big news every once and a while. Today, we have a robust platform to engage our clients, colleagues and friends in a dialogue about our industry and our agency.

Photo by William Allen via Flickr

What's in a (Twitter) name?

I recently decided to make a change. To be honest, it's a change I was hesitant to make. No, I didn't do anything to my appearance, my routine or my lifestyle... I changed my Twitter handle.

It sounds a little trivial. What should have been an easy change, actually took some contemplation. For the duration of my Twitter experience, I had been "@blaketexas081." To many, that was a string of characters and numbers. To me, it was my identity.

But I also understand that success and visibility in social media comes from others' ability to connect with me. To my dismay, @BlakeLewis has already been claimed by the season six American Idol runner-up. Outside of that one time I convinced a Nashville hotel staff that I was, in fact, the singer and just looked younger on TV - that handle is unavailable.

Instead, you can now find me at @LPRBlake. It's simple, short and easy to find. It still represents me and what I do with @LPRDallas. It's great for searches that include LPR, PR and LPR Blake. It's the right fit at the right time.

So, follow me on Twitter at @LPRBlake, and let's talk PR, Lewis Public Relations and all things Texas.

(And follow the rest of the LPR team: @AmandaLHill, @ChristiChesner, @ashley_brazell and @shelbyTidwell.)

March Madness for PR: Get a Game Plan

Spring has officially sprung. For sports lovers, this means March Madness, the pinnacle of the college basketball season, is in full-swing. As I meticulously filled out my bracket (and watched it crumble after some surprising games in the first round), I noticed some parallels between the tournament and the PR agency world.